Easy on the ear

14th November 1997 at 00:00
SUPERSONICS - FUN WITH PHONICS. Packs of 6 Pounds 11.50 each. Evaluation Pack Pounds 39. Ginn.

Ginn's new Supersonics series offers rhyming texts in four graded sets of six books each. Each book contains notes for the teacher, explaining its phonic focus and suggesting supportive activities for developing phonological awareness through rhyme production and getting children to explore spelling-sound patterns.

The approach does not provide a systematic phonics programme on its own, but provides texts that will support phonics teaching, covering short vowels, consonant clusters and long vowel spelling patterns.Technical terminology is occasionally abused, for example, the digraphs "-ck" and "-ng" are referred to as "letter blends" when each represents only one phoneme. But the activities are simple to manage and appropriate. Phonics teaching is most successful where the texts employed and the input match and reinforce each other.

One traditional complaint about phonics materials is that the constraints on vocabulary lead to in-ane texts and unnatural language that deny the child the support of contextual meaning and predictability. Contemporary writers are aware of this and try to circumvent these problems. These Supersonics texts generally succeed in being fun - but one hopes that teachers will do as advised and read the text aloud to the children, "taking care to allow the rhythms of the verses and the rhymes to catch the ear", before the children are asked to read it themselves.

Consider My Cat Sam: "Sam is a black cat, an I-like-a-snack cat, a drink-at-the-sink cat, a gone-in-a-wink cat I" Interpreting these complex modifiers puts quite a strain on the child's grammatical grasp and working memory. Yet the whole book has such verve, you can imagine children wanting to learn it off by heart.

Some other texts are not as good, but overall these books should add to the fun of practising phonics.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now